NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- In the end, Facebook (FB)'s "phone" announcement has little impact on Facebook itself. The key takeaway is that Facebook just made thegreatest endorsement of Android imaginable, while basically relegatingApple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT) and BlackBerry (BBRY) to second-class citizens.Facebook's huge endorsement of Android is a symptom of a largerindustry trend, with Android's relative openness winning over Apple'smore restrictive iOS. This is the kind of trend that is not swiftlyor easily reversible. Let's go through the impact of Facebook's announcement, company by company: Google: The Facebook announcement was nothing short of a big Androidadvertisement. HTC is launching a dedicated Android phone that isoptimized for Facebook, and a "lighter" version of this Facebooksoftware implementation will be available for a couple of other Samsung and HTC Android phones as well.
The Facebook software does not subtract much -- if anything -- fromGoogle's value on the Android platform, while diverting users fromApple, Microsoft and BlackBerry. What more could Google ( GOOG) have askedfor? Essentially nothing. One almost thinks Google has incriminatingpictures of Mark Zuckerberg, given how he buttered up to his corporateneighbors located a few short miles down the street. Apple: Apple usually hosts an event mid-late March quarter to announce a newiPad, or at least a preview of a new software version for the iPhone.Well, not this year. Something has gone astray in Cupertino. iOS 7is running late. This is in turn delaying what will surely eventuallybe new iPads and iPhones launching later in the year. The problem for Apple is that they needed the new products in March --and in June -- not in September or October. There is some fear thatApple's March sales could be weak, given the lack of new product, andeven worse in June. Perhaps September may even be in doubt, if iOS 7and associated devices are running late and things are not on storeshelves until October. Pain!
Poor Apple. And here comes Mark Zuckerberg, pouring salt into Apple's open wound.He all but peed on Apple. Basically, reading between the lines,Zuckerberg said that Apple's platform in its current state is simplynot as friendly to Facebook -- and by extension to every otherthird-party app provider either.
Facebook: Forty years ago, in the movie Magnum Force, Inspector "Dirty Harry" Callahan, played by Clint Eastwood, said "A man's got to know his limitations." Facebook does not seem to agree. It thinks it is thecenter of the human universe, the source of all knowledge and good. Facebook seems to believe that people want more Facebook, totalimmersion. Facebook seems to believe that people actually want tospend more time on Facebook than they already do. For this reason,they have created this new way -- on Android only -- to get even moreimmersed into the world of Facebook. I think most people think exactly the opposite. I think most peopleare trying to spend less time on Facebook. Most people view Facebookas an addiction. They may not want to reduce their presence onFacebook to 0%, but they want to reduce it nevertheless. Perhaps cutthe time they spend on Facebook by 30% or 50%. Basically, go on aFacebook diet. Not to starve themselves, but to become healthy again. Today, whether you're on iOS, Android or Windows Phone, Facebook isone app among others. It's one of many buttons on one of the homescreens. I think most people feel that's an appropriate place. It'seasy to go there, but it doesn't take precedence over everything elseyou do on the phone. Clearly, people are different. Some people want to binge on Facebook.They are addicted and they want even more of it. Greasy burgers andLas Vegas casinos do sell. People are addicted to all sorts ofthings. This new Facebook home on Android gives these people a placeto binge.